The exiled Iranian photo and video artist Shirin Neshat is well established in the art world having exhibited at, amongst others, the Henie Onstad Art Centre and the Astrup Fearnley Museum. Between 1998 and 2005 she directed a total of 12 short films and went on to premier her first feature film in 2009. That film was Women Without Men, which, in cooperation with Arthaus will open the 20th Films from the South Festival. A film as poetic as it is political, told through beautiful pictures and engaging stories. It was a worthy winner of the Silver Lion for best director during the Venice Film Festival in 2009.
Through steady and confident directing the film portrays four women's lives in the tense political climate that characterised Iran in the 1950's.
- The current Iranian regime and its explosive relationship with the United States, has its roots in a coup that installed the Shah in 1953 – a coup backed by the CIA and the British government. In Women Without Men I get the opportunity to give a Western audience greater insight into the political history that has shaped today's Iran, says Shirin Neshat.
Films from the South elected to focus on female directors in its anniversary year, and this film is an excellent example of how important it is to let the female director's voice be heard through film.
- The theme for this year’s festival is "Woman on Fire" and we have included many great films by women from the South who have embodied this concept in their films and in their lives. Shirin Neshat is one of the best examples of this, and we are proud to have her at the festival, says Lasse Skagen, artistic director of the Film from the South.
"Neshat has directed a quietly tremendous film which ensnares both the heart and the mind." This quote is taken from The Guardian's review of the movie, and we couldn’t agree more. This is a powerful film that needs to be experienced. Thanks to Norwegian distribution by Arthaus those who don’t make it to this year's festival still have the opportunity to see Women Without Men in cinemas from 29th October.